Crimson Arete is one of the easier objectives to reach from the main Castle Rocks trail head. Although there is an arête route with that namesake, this name actually refers to a colorful collection of fins and aretes that face due south. The Castle massive has a dog leg ridge that descends southeast. Crimson Arete is the last wall down that ridge on the south side. The north side of the ridge is called Crack House. Moving between sun and shade is easy between these two walls via a climbers trail that hugs the rock. Bingham’s guide (2015) refers to Crimson being located on the northeast side, but in reality it is located on the southeast side. It does get mid to late afternoon shade from an adjoining wall.
The Crimson Arete route itself is an obvious bolted arête. It would have to be one of the softest 5.10b’s (more like 5.9) I have climbed anywhere but is fun climbing just the same (allotted three out of four stars by Bingham). Deadwood is a fun, but short, trad climb to the right of Crimson. Both can be rapped with a single rope from their own fixed anchor.
From the main Castle Rocks trail head, follow the marked trails north and turn west as you would head for Crack House and/or Hostess Gully on the north side of Castle. As you start up a switch back trail between Castle and Poultry Pillar, cut left and around the eastern toe to the south side of the ridge. Deadwood is right there as you turn the corner south and easy to identify via several roof features around it. Crimson is the next route left (full bolted arête).
Route Description(s)South Face
Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
- It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City- 5.12c*/
- Cold Feet- 5.11c**/
- Castles Made of Sand- 5.11d*/
- Crimson Arete-5.10b***/It is a short route but worth it. Climbing cool patina flakes to chains through four bolts. This pitch would be 5.8 many places, i.e. Jtree. But the texture and shape of the rock and jug fest make it worth seeing for sure. Bolted and Single Rope Rap. Dow
- Deadwood- 5.9**/No real 5.9 move except maybe one near the end in the flaring crack. Starts in the crack, but there are many foot ledges to make this pitch soft for the grade. Takes good gear. Near the end the crack is flaring, if 5.9 is your limit you might want to place gear in the hidden crack (within the wider one) before you reach this short flaring section. Trad and Single Rope Rap. Dow